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The Audio Description Project

2018 Audio Description Project Conference

ACB Audio Description Project Conference
July 1-3, 2018
St. Louis, MO

St Louis Arch

Links to previous conferences are at the end of this document.

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2018 ADP Conference


Day I – Sunday, July 1, 2018

1:00 pm-1:30 pm Welcome/Introduction to the ADP

Eric Bridges, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind

Dr. Joel Snyder, Director, ADP

Arrow ADP:  Our Tenth Year

1:30 pm-2:30 pmThe ADP Website:Described TV, Movies, DVDs, Streaming Videos, Performing Arts, Museums, and More! – Fred Brack, ADP Webmaster

Arrow The ADP Website Presentation [Note:  over time, this link will be updated to the current version of the presentation]

2:30 pm-2:45 pm Break

2:45 pm-3:45 pm  Welcome to St. Louis! – Chaired by Marjorie Moore, MindsEye Radio.  St. Louis has a burgeoning audio description community with AD available at area theaters, museums, performing arts centers, in media, in museums, and at and other venues.  Marjorie will provide an overview of all of this activity and the secrets of its success.Local describers and consumers of audio description will share their perspectives.Panelists include: Sarah Sims, Manager, K-12 Education Programs, Missouri History Museum; Chris Gray, AD consumer and Executive Director of the Missouri Council of the Blind; and Sean Smith, Director of Operations at The MUNY.

3:45 pm-5:15 pm  Industry Update-Media – A review of the current status of broadcast description and the latest regarding the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act’s mandates and broadcast description in the digital era (via smart phone apps, for example); Carl Richardson of the Massachusetts Office on Disability will moderate.  Panelists include: Gurpreet Kaur, Charter Communications (via Skype),Tom Wlodkowski, Comcast; Alex Koren, Actiview (via Skype); Peter Korn, Amazon; and Tony Stephens, ACB’s Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs.  

5:15 pm-6:00 pm  Mentoring Meet-Up – Chaired by Susan Glass, ADP Steering Committee joined by mentors Jeff Thom and Carl Richardson.  For the third time, the ACB Audio Description Project is offering its unique “mentorship” program: sighted attendees of the Audio Description Project Conference will be paired with a blind or visually impaired mentor.The best describers develop an understanding of the audience for whom they are providing a critical service.  What better opportunity for such interaction than at the ACB Conference and Convention, where some 1500 blind people will likely be present?(Saturday evening on June 30 and the mornings on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, July 1, 2 and 3 are kept open for attendance at ACB Convention plenary sessions.)

At this meet-and-greet session, ADP Conference attendees will have the opportunity to meet and be mentored by an ACB member/description enthusiast and join him/her for the opening plenary session of the ACB Conference and Convention AND at least two other activities during the sessions over the next two mornings—e.g., touring the exhibit hall together, attending an affiliate meeting or an additional ACB general session, taking a walk, eating a meal together, or watching an audio described film.  We hope that these interactions will give you lots of practical experience interacting with a blind person—and you may forge a new friendship and increase understanding between the sighted and the blind communities.

Dinner on your own

8:00 pm - 10:30 pm  ACB Double Feature:  DEALT and NCIS

"Dealt," an award-winning audio described documentary features Richart Turner, a master Card Mechanic-Manipulator, popular stage entertainer, and Fortune 500 Motivational speaker. In 2014 he won the coveted "Close-Up Magician of the Year" award.  His skill with a deck of cards has been repeatedly featured on worldwide television.  Oh, and by the way, Turner is blind.

"NCIS" - ACB is pleased to have consulted on the development of the character Annie, a blind attorney played by visually impaired actress Marilee Talkington on "Sight Unseen," episode 350 of NCIS. 

View both videos with audio description and meet the two stars.

Day II – Monday, July 2, 2018

1:30 pm-3:00 pm  The National Park Service and Audio Description –- Chaired by Dr. Denise Decker, AD consumer, advocate, educator, federal government administrator.  Many people believe that of all the myriad agencies in the federal government, the NPS is far and away the most active advocate of accessibility at its parks and other facilities.  Panelists include: Michelle Hartley, Harpers Ferry Center; Ray Bloomer, National Center on Accessibility; Megan and Tom Conway, University of HI (via Skype); and Jamie Gibson Barrows, Fresno Chapter, California Council of the Blind (via Skype); Frank Welte (via Skype), San Francisco Chapter, California Council of the Blind; and Sajja Koirala of the University of Hawaii.

Arrow Audio description app studied by field-research team at Muir Woods National Monument

Arrow Audio Description Best Practices

3:00 pm-3:15 pm Break

  3:15 pm-4:45 pm  "Are you a CAD (Certified Audio Describer)?" –Chaired by Kim Charlson, President, American Council of the Blind   In order to ensure that high level of description excellence, ACB has partnered with the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals to develop a certification process for describers. Certification is a formal recognition that an individual has demonstrated a proficiency within, and comprehension of, description’s best practices. It is a measurement of skills and knowledge which will provide description producers, theaters and government agencies an assurance that an individual can meet the demands of employers and the consumers of audio description.

Panelists include: Kathleen Zeider, Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals; Pat Sheehan, 508 coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs (government-based specialist in procuring AD services); Jill Kennehan-Krey, sign interpreter and member, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and Margo Tone, Deluxe Entertainment (via Skype).

Arrow Presentation:  Framework for Discussion

Arrow Certification of Audio Describers

Arrow Certification of Audio Describers - Responses

Dinner on your own

8:00 pm Audio Described performance of “Singin’ In The Rain” at The MUNY

Ticket information on registration page:  $95 includes transportation to/from MUNY, dinner and show (bus leaves the Union Station Hotel at 5:15).

Day III – Tuesday, July 3, 2018

1:00 pm-2:30 pm  Luncheon with special guest speaker, MARILEE TALKINGTON.  Ms. Talkington, is a critically acclaimed actor, writer and director who works in plays, film, multi-media performance, journalism, and sound sculpture.She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from the American Conservatory Theater, marking her as one of only two legally blind actors in the country to do so.   She guest-starred on the 350th Anniversary episode of the mega-hit CBS drama series, NCIS; Talkington also landed a recurring guest star role in the new CW drama pilot, IN THE DARK, from CBS.  In the recent NCIS episode titled “Sight Unseen,” the detective team searches for a petty officer suspected of assault who escapes when the sheriff transporting him crashes into a lake. Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) works closely with Annie Barth (Talkington), a key witness who is blind, but heard vital details that help piece together what happened and solve the case.

Arrow Audio:  Marilee Talkington's Luncheon Address (MP3, 40 minutes)

ANNOUNCEMENT of 2018 ACB-ADP Audio Description Achievement Award winners

Arrow See our Honor Roll

2:30 pm-2:45 Break

2:45 pm-4:15 pm Teachers and Audio Description –- Chaired by Susan Glass.  Programs like the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) and several published papers have demonstrated how teachers can use audio description as a classroom aide and can build literacy for all students.The ADP’s special initiative, Benefits of Audio Description in Education (BADIE), has been a tremendous success at encouraging kids to write about description and described programs they’ve enjoyed.  Panelists include: Kim Charlson, President, ACB and Librarian, Perkins School for the Blind; Jason Stark, Director, DCMP; and Donna Brown, West Virginia School for the Blind; and Matt Kaplowitz, Bridge Multimedia.

4:15 pm-5:45 pm  Audio Description—The Best It Can Be – Coordinated by Dr. Joel Snyder, this session will provide all attendees—and especially AD consumers—with the opportunity to evaluate excerpts from audio described films.  As a group, we’ll try to answer:  How do providers of description know they are doing a good job?  What criteria can be used to assess quality in audio description?  How do describers/description producers know if AD consumers are getting the most out of a described video or film? 

5:45 pm-6:00 pm  Conference Conclusion / Wrap-Up

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